Previously, I had suggested that Sen. Obama might need divine intervention to overcome the Reverend Wright hysteria. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and it seems He sent an Easter miracle in the person of Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson's endorsement was important on several levels, including his influence with Latinos as a border state governor and his high level of regard as a statesman. But most importantly, as he presented a memorable image with the Senator at a packed Oregon campaign rally, was his personal political courage, something that Sen. Obama seems to inspire a lot of these days. Richardson owes his career to the Clintons and served in two positions in the Clinton cabinet, but it's one thing to owe your loyalty to Bill, and another to owe it to Hill, and Richardson chose to do what he felt was best for the country and endure the wrath of the Clintons. He spoke of the anguish that went into the decision, but claimed Obama to be a "Once-in-a-lifetime leader."
Like Richardson, I was more than moved by Obama's speech on racial reconciliation. I was shocked that a leading presidential candidate would speak up to me instead of down about a matter of great importance; something to which I am unaccustomed. I disagree with some of the pundits that it was another Gettysburg Address, but it was a thoughtful and challenging statement that rebuked his pastor's divisive words and called the nation to a higher purpose in confronting racial resentments on all sides. This is what caused Bill Richardson to cut his vacation short and, as the old saw goes, come to the aide of his party. His belief in Obama's leadership outweighed his loyalty to the Clintons, and his endorsement came during the Obama campaign's darkest hour. The fact that Richardson resembles Horatio Sans only ads to the endearing candor of his remarks.
At first, the oily Clinton strategist Mark Penn tried to air off the Richardson endorsement as ineffective, but the old reliable Clinton Yakuza, James "Snakehead" Carville, soon offered up the real and nasty resentment. By saying Richarson was a "Judas who sold out for thirty pieces of silver," Carville put the proper Easter spin on it, and managed to imply that Richardson was somehow on the take at the same time. Bill was out on the stump looking less like an admired former president and more like Spiro Agnew. And when it appeared as if the pastor controversy, after a week of endless reruns, was on the front burner only on Fox News, did Hillary decide to weigh in on the matter. Just when you believe she might do the decent thing, she re-inflames the conflict about her Democratic opponent to detract from her own embarrassing gaffe.
Hillary's battle stories about her tour of war-torn Bosnia show that it's not enough for her to be the next Maggie Thatcher; she sees herself as Douglas MacArthur. But then Ronald Reagan always wanted to be the Duke, too. Her memories of corkscrew landings under sniper fire and running for armored vehicles didn't look as dramatic in the actual footage where Hillary and Chelsea accepted kisses and poems from an eight year old girl greeting them on the tarmac. How lame must your story be to be refuted by Sheryl Crow and Sinbad? At least Sheryl Crow once had the guts to stand up to Karl Rove. Down here in the South, when someone embellishes a story with a straight face and then is caught in a gross exaggeration, we have a name for them; liars. Hillary blamed sleep deprivation on causing her to "misspeak," but she looked bright-eyed in her St. Patricks' Day shamrock scarf when she related her war story like a Vietnam vet with the Thousand Yard Stare. Was she also sleep deprived on the other two occasions when she mis-remembered? You can almost measure the size of Hillary's lies by the number of times she says, "you know," in the explanation. "It was, you know, a long day."
This exaggeration over Bosnia, or her role in the Irish Peace Accord, or her consistent "opposition" over NAFTA, would all be forgivable as election tactics were it not for the unyielding ugliness of her campaign. Clinton's supporters say she is receiving tougher press scrutiny because she is a woman. I maintain that the media has allowed this unwinnable, disintegrating campaign to continue exactly because Hillary is the first viable woman candidate for president and it is too good a story to extinguish with reality. The math says that Clinton cannot catch Obama in elected delegates and her last hope is to paint him as one of the south side Chicago Blackstone Rangers and a danger to civilization. Then, with a series of primary victories, the superdelegates will turn to her, Hill of Arc, to deliver the Democrats from this wild radical.
Four weeks until the Pennsylvania primary is a long time for Obama to endure the death by a thousand cuts, and recent events show there is no depth so low that the Clintons will not go. Even the hapless Lanny Davis, so eloquent in defense of President Clinton while he was under siege, is sent out to shill for Hill and trash Barack. It has become embarrassing to watch people you once admired debase themselves in the name of loyalty to a political faction. While Obama's campaign seems to elevate people, Clinton's diminishes them. And even though there are not enough delegates left for her to win the nomination, Hillary will keep clawing forward, like Jason Voorhees or Freddie Krueger, until someone puts the metaphorical wooden stake in the heart of her campaign, if there, in fact, is one. Is there not a Democrat with the influence to face down Bill Clinton, or a group of senior party officials who can step in and declare "enough?" If not, Hillary will continue this kamikaze campaign, sending shrapnel in every direction, right up until the election of President McCain.
Many thanks to Wintermute of The Daily Docket for the improvements and upgrades to this blog. Because I had inadvertently enabled a comment monitoring system, several comments were omitted from the last post. I apologise and hope I have corrected the problem. RJH